Understanding & Dealing With The Consequences of Tooth Loss



Your adult teeth are generally all present by the time you’re 12-14 years old. These are the teeth that you need to look after to help ensure they last a lifetime. The best way to do this is to learn to brush them properly. That means doing it at least twice a day for a minimum of two minutes. You should also be careful not to use too much pressure as this can damage the enamel coating on your teeth and cause your gums to recede.

Flossing is also a good idea, as is non-alcoholic mouthwash and regular visits to a reputable dentist like this dentist Neutral Bay. This will help you to identify issues before they become serious and have them resolved.

Of course, tooth decay is not the only reason for tooth loss. In fact, although many Australians are affected by tooth decay, it’s not the primary cause of tooth loss until later in life. It’s much more common to lose a tooth through trauma. This is often unavoidable. However, you do need to take steps as quickly as possible to resolve the issue. There are several consequences of tooth loss that you need to be aware of in order to prevent them from happening:


Tooth Movement

You may not realize this but your teeth are capable of moving, that’s why braces are so successful. When you have a gap in your teeth the remaining teeth will gradually shift. They will actually move toward the space made by your missing tooth.

Unfortunately, while this sounds impressive, the shift will affect your jawbone and change the appearance of your face, making you appear much older than you are!

In addition, the teeth will develop additional gaps between them, reducing their united strength and making it more likely you’ll break another one.


Increased Tooth Decay

The additional gaps in your teeth and the gap in your mouth will increase the number of places that food debris can hide. This will increase the likelihood of the bacteria in your mouth reacting with sugars in the food to create plaque and acid. It’s this acid that attacks and destroys the enamel on your teeth and causes cavities.

In short, if you do nothing after losing a tooth you’re more likely to lose more.


Bite Issues

Your teeth fit together and create a solid bite, allowing you to chew your food before you eat it. This is important to ensure food is digested properly and you don’t choke or have stomach irritations.

However, when you’re missing a tooth your bite changes and becomes less efficient. You may find that food gets stuck in your teeth more often and there will be occasional pain through the surrounding teeth as the food catches the teeth at an unexpected annual.

If it’s your front teeth you’ll find it harder to bite into things, while losing a molar will make it more difficult to grind your food before swallowing.


Reduction In Confidence

One thing that most people underestimate is the reduction in confidence brought about by losing a tooth. It would seem that the effect is most pronounced when you lose a front tooth as everyone will see as soon as you open your mouth or smile.

However, even if it’s one of your back teeth you’ll be aware that it’s missing and will feel conscious about it. This will affect your ability to smile and is likely to cause you to avoid certain public engagements.

In short, your tooth loss can cause you to take a step back, retreating into yourself and reducing your social circle. You may feel this would never apply to you but it’s surprising how much effect the loss of a tooth can have.


Repair Possibilities

The good news is that it’s possible to replace the tooth. Dentists will not generally remove a tooth unless there is no other option. But, if this is the case you do have several options to replace the tooth. It’s a good idea to chat with your dentist as soon as possible. This will reduce the likelihood of damage to other teeth, an increase in tooth decay, or even a loss of your self-confidence.

  • Implants

Implants are the most obvious solution as they will replace your original tooth with one that looks exactly like the one you lost.

Implants require the dentist to remove any remnants of your tooth and clean the area. They’ll then drill into your jawbone and affix a titanium post into it. Amazingly, the titanium will fuse with your bone within two to three weeks. This makes it a permanent addition and as strong as your original teeth and roots.

After the titanium has fused the dentist will be able to affix a tooth to the post, that part that is sticking into your mouth. The tooth will be created to mimic your original teeth, even the color will be matched. Once it’s in place you won’t notice the difference!

This is a very strong and efficient solution, an implant will often last for the rest of your life.

You should note that if the jawbone is not strong enough to take the titanium post, or you don’t want to have anything inserted into your bone, there are other options. It’s possible for your dentist to attach the implant to your cheekbone. Alternatively, your dentist may create a metal frame that sits on top of your bone. Your gum will heal over the frame, giving it strength and support.

Of course, a straightforward titanium rod is the best and simplest solution.

  • Bridges

If you’ve lost more than one tooth in the same area your gap maybe two or three teeth wide. While it is possible to put several implants in you may prefer to choose a bridge. This is also an option instead of replacing one tooth with an implant.

In effect, a tooth is created that matches your missing one or one. This is attached to a frame that sits over the teeth on each side, bridging the gap and giving the new tooth strength. Your teeth will look perfect again although this is perhaps not as strong as having implants done. It is a viable option and generally cheaper than implants.

  • Dentures

If you’ve lost a lot or all of your teeth then you’ll be looking at dentures. These are specially created to match your jawline and your original teeth. Dentures can be fixed into your mouth permanently. This is usually done by adding titanium screws to your jawbone, in the same way, that a dentist would for an individual implant. The permanent dentures are then fitted to the posts, holding them securely in place and giving you a full set of teeth.

It should be noted that dentures cannot be fitted instantly. If you’ve had teeth extracted you’ll have to wait between – months to have the dentures fitted. During this time you’ll be given temporary, or intermediate dentures. These can be very good but they are not designed to stay in your mouth all the time. You’ll need to remove them to clean them every night.

Of course, dentures fitted in this way should also last a lifetime, making them a better choice even if they can take several months to fit and get right.

It’s worth noting that people with dentures tend to have shorter lifespans because they avoid healthier foods. This is due to the fact healthier foods tend to be harder to chew. However, if you have permanent dentures fitted it shouldn’t affect your ability to eat anything.

Unfortunately, permanent dentures are more expensive than implants. But, they should be seen as an essential part of your healthcare.


Dental Care

Having an implant or dentures will restore your smile and ensure you continue to be confident in a variety of situations. But, this doesn’t change your need to look after your teeth. You’ll still need to brush them twice a day and see your dentist regularly for a checkup.

The sooner you adhere to a regular and precise oral cleaning schedule the better for your teeth and even for your overall health.

You should note that insurance doesn’t usually cover the entire cost of dentures. Make sure you know what dental insurance you have in place and what it will cover. Implants are a great solution but they are not the cheapest option. Ensuring you have the necessary funds is essential if you want the best solution for your missing tooth.

Don’t forget, in some cases, you may be able to evaluate your current coverage and change it before you start treatment. You’ll need to check your contract thoroughly first and, if necessary, speak to your broker to ensure you get the best deal possible.

Once the funds are in place you can book the procedure and deal with your missing teeth. You may not realize how important they were until you’ve had an implant fitted and can smile again.


By Jesse Huges

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